AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Inquiry at Pangkor Island Beach Resort Hotel

Last week, I wrote about two hotels in Kuala Lumpur, the Meridien and The Hilton.

The pictures showed that both look very much the same and the question was, what makes them different from each other. The basic situation is the same, I thought. Training to their employees is provised and customer feedback is checked. The question was, what makes someone pick one hotel over the other - and presumably, it is the attitude of the customer service staff.

And true enough - they make a difference. Let me tell you a little story that happened before the Tsunami.

Our family (the whole family) planned a getaway to the hotel between Christmas and New Year, and the story.

We planned to go to Pangkor Island at wanted to book rooms in the Pangkor Island Beach Resort Hotel, the former Pan Pacific. My brother-in called and wanted to book a room called Ocean View, but was told by their receptionist that this room is not available.

My sister-in-law, the same afternoon, asked for the same room and suddenly was told that the room is still available. There is nothing wrong with this, since someone might have just cancelled the room.

So, in order to get the family in for one holiday she booked 5 rooms at once. The hotel should be happy to get such a large number of room reservations at once.

Later that day, she went to see her travel agent. Here, she picked up a brochure outlining a promotional campaign of the hotel, promising much lower prices than we were charged during the original booking.

Getting curious, she called the hotel anonymously to find out about the promotion. She talked to a receptionist called "Suzy". This Suzy told her that the campaign was over already.

My sister-in-law said that this is okay. So far so good - but when she start putting down the receiver, she heard the receptionist saying "so stupid, this woman." For no reason.

Employees can surely make a difference..

Another point to make here is that the travel agent, of course, shouldn't have left the brochure on the shelves, outlining the promotional campaign.

We also called the same hotel to ask for about the weather situation after the Tsunami struck. During that call, we referred to the governmental announcement asking people to stay away from beaches. They said that their place is safe, that tourists would still arrive by ferry, and that they couldn't refund the advance payment done. How would a great customer experience end? With a lot of apologies, informing the hotel guest that the area is safe and that there is nothing to worry about. But, to increase the surprise and generate potentially a word-of-mouth promotion, they should have offered a refund. May be with some deduction, but still. This was and still is a difficult situation. There is the so-called Act of God in policies and companies like to reinforce this in times of trouble. The hotel could have acted generously, just to show that they care.

We didn't cancel the room - and, according to an online information, we have to pay the whole (of course). I wonder if they left the room vacant, always expecting us. A great hotel would have called to find out where the guests whereabouts is.

It is a beautiful hotel with a great location - but employees and their attitude surely make a difference - to the better or to the worse! A simple remark can damage the perception of a hotel, and damage the brand. If it exists in the online world, it is damaged forever.

I am going to send this link to them.


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